Graphic of gamification intervention

Gamification Benefits & Pitfalls

First the Pitfalls     

A gamification backlash can result from employees or consumers becoming weary of playing for points and badge, which tend to happen if players are rewarded blindly. These extrinsic rewards are not sustainable. Rewards and external incentives will not keep up with users’ expectations. Eventually, it will become more difficult to motivate them. 

A gamified program can work very well in the short term to solve short-term engagement problems, but it needs to adapt as people’s interest changes. There are two strategies that can make applying gamification more sustainable  (Wu, 2011).

Sustainable Gamification

The aim of the first strategy is to for users to create lasting values (intrinsic) as they carry out gamified tasks. The whole reward system will become secondary while the intrinsic value becomes the primary motivator. This has the added benefit of reinforcing the gamified tasks. Gamification needs to works in the short term enough for players to enjoy the value they create.  

The second strategy is to gather data from players' activity, and then analyze the data to uncover players’ intrinsic motivation. This information will determine the external rewards to use to reinforce players inferred intrinsic motivation. In order for the two strategies to work, the following is required:

  • Users must have full autonomy to choose any activity they like. Therefore, it is essential to offer a very wide range of activities.
  • The gamification platform has to be able to track players’ actions.
  • The platform needs to be able to have analytic capacity (Wu, 2011).


Wu, M. (2011, November 13). The gamification backlash + Two long term business stategies. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from

Zichermann, G. (2012). Getting started. Retrieved December 7, 2012, from